Running a Chamber on a Solid Foundation

At a recent ACCE Annual Meeting, I attended a fundraising breakout session where they talked about using different vehicles to raise revenue to fund your program of work.

The following blog post are from my notes.  It was a great session!

The session started with the traditional methods of raising money:

  • Dues;
  • The movement to non-dues revenue over the years; and now
  • Fundraising through your Foundation to raise money.

There is a lot of money in your community.  Deca millionaires?  They stated that 1.02 per 100 households in America have $10 million or more money in your communities.  You just don't know who they are, yet!

They also mentioned that you need to be intentional about your fundraising using your Foundation.  Raise money for education, workforce development, or community based projects.

People will cut a check for a cause or issue they care about.

They went on to say, get the right people on the Foundation board to help you raise money. Foundation board members should have a minimum commitment (you figure out what that donation point is - $10K, etc.) for a seat on the board.

It is important to define your body of work that you want to raise money for.  It is more important to stay true to your mission.  Sometimes you may have to turn money away if it’s not in your scope of work or part of your mission.

The session speakers mentioned that many chambers may have a dormant Foundation and now might be a good time to ramp it up and raise money for your program of work. You will get bigger checks to your Foundation vs membership dues.

You can potentially raise money from sources your chamber would have never been able to access in the past.  You may also be able to raise more money from corporate America from different buckets within that corporate structure.

Make sure you are able to tell your story and have 3rd party folks tell that story!  Make sure you tie that story to your Chamber's program of work.

Be transparent and make sure you have your governance in order.

Never forget the Foundation is part of the your chamber.  The chamber is the c-6 parent where the Foundation is the c-3 under the c-6 umbrella.

Good luck!